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The Return Journey to Face to Face Training

by Jo Woods

After 20 months of ‘hibernation’ in my little rural village, barely travelling further than 10 miles at any time, but covering many miles over Zoom delivering Live Online Learning sessions. It was inevitable that this day would come… the return of face-to-face training.

Earlier this year we were asked to deliver some face-to-face training in September for one of our clients in London. Back then, September seemed a long way off and it felt quite exciting to be planning some new material to be delivering back in the ‘classroom’.

However, the closer to September we got, the more nervous I began to feel. Not about delivering the training and not about exposure to the virus, but nervous about leaving the safe little bubble and small simple life I had created for myself since the first lockdown.

I had forgotten the amount of work that goes in to preparing for a training workshop; developing materials for syndicate sessions and business games, printing, laminating, ordering prizes, sweets, tabletop toys and all the paraphernalia that goes with running an interactive workshop, not to mention the cost! Not just for materials, but for travel, parking and childcare.

When the day arrived I was up at 5.30am doing my hair, make up, changing out of my joggers and into a new ME&EM dress (bought in the sale!) and starting to feel the excitement of going into London for a couple of days. The station was fairly quiet, the train empty, Kings Cross was deserted and there was a queue of taxis waiting for people, rather than the other way around.

We got into Kensington in record time, only 17 mins not the usual 45, and the hotel was a hive of activity, not with guests but with the team and support team getting ready to re-open for the first time since March 2020. There was a real buzz and it was contagious. I felt invigorated, energised and for the first time in ages, I was really looking forward to interacting with a group of people face to face.

The 2 days spent at the hotel were amazing. All of the team were so pleased to be part of the training and all rocked up on time and raring to go. We laughed, we discussed, we collaborated but most importantly we enjoyed the exchange of knowledge, experience and others viewpoints in the same room, at the same time, face to face.

So despite all the preparation, expense of materials and cost of travelling; the early mornings and having to ‘dress up’ it was all worth it. You just can’t beat face to face interaction. 😊

Now we have a comprehensive L&D plan for the next 6 months combining both Live Online Learning, online learning through SmartHub and of course, training workshops on site and in person. A fabulous example of blended learning and sticky training.